SP 2/3

Bacterial adaptation

SP2/3: Characterization of pyelonephritis and cystitis E. coli isolates – Comparison of bacterial traits involved in colonization of the lower or upper urinary tract

Uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC) are the most common pathogens of lower and upper urinary tract infections (UTIs). Kidneys and urinary bladders differ significantly, among other things, anatomically and in terms of an immune response. We assume that UPEC adapt to the respective environment which profoundly differs between kidney and bladder. There is also epidemiological evidence that pyelonephritis and cystitis isolates differ. We hypothesize that UPEC employ different adaptation strategies during upper and lower UTI. We will perform comparative genomics on pyelonephritis and cystitis isolates to identify bacterial factors that determine pathogenicity in the kidneys and bladder, respectively. We will analyze bacterial and host gene expression in the infected kidney in a murine infection model. Further functional characterization will include in vitro studies of the interaction between UPEC and the host environment under different growth and infection conditions.

Our findings will identify specific bacterial adaptation and infection mechanisms in the kidney and thus extend our knowledge on specific bacterial-host interactions during bladder colonization.